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What is constructive feedback?

Constructive feedback is supportive feedback given to individuals to help identify solutions to areas of weakness they may have. Therefore, it comes with positive intentions and is used as a supportive communication tool to address specific issues or concerns.

Purpose of Constructive Feedback
The purpose of constructive feedback is to give feedback to an individual in a way that will lead to improvements or corrections. This is important, as it enhances personal and professional growth in individuals.

For example, constructive feedback can:
• Improve employee morale
• Reduce confusion regarding expectations and current performance
• Provide a new perspective and give valuable insight to the person receiving feedback
• Positively impact an individual’s behaviour

Making Feedback Constructive
It is important to be able to differentiate between constructive feedback and destructive feedback. Destructive feedback points at faults and is a direct attack on the individual. In destructive feedback, no practical advice or supportive feedback is given.

Examples of destructive feedback include:
• “You’re wrong.”
• “That is not how you do things around here.”
• “You have no idea what you are doing.”

Here are five steps for giving constructive feedback:
1. State the purpose of your feedback.
State what you will be talking about and why it is important.

2. Describe what you have observed and your reaction.
Clearly identify the action or event and how it makes you or other members feel.

3. Give the individual an opportunity to respond.
After you have stated the purpose, importance, observation, and your reaction, ask the person what they think about it.

4. Offer specific suggestions or solutions.
After you hear the individual out, give input as to how the situation can be improved.

5. Summarise everything discussed
Summarise everything that was discussed to avoid any misunderstandings. Also, summarizing helps ensure that the constructive feedback was communicated efficiently

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